Fort Leonard Wood Firefighter George Cody talks with 1st Sgt. Kevin Linde, from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, and his children Elijah and Jillian about the equipment on their ladder trucks during the 2022 Fire Fest, held Saturday in the Main Exchange parking lot.
Fort Leonard Wood Firefighter George Cody talks with 1st Sgt. Kevin Linde, from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment, and his children Elijah and Jillian about the equipment on their ladder trucks during the 2022 Fire Fest, held Saturday in the Main Exchange parking lot. (Photo Credit: Photo by Amanda Sullivan, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Fort Leonard Wood community members gathered Saturday in the parking lot of the Main Exchange to participate in the 2022 Fire Fest, hosted by the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department. This year marked the return of the outreach event after a two-year hiatus.

Attendees had the opportunity to meet firefighters and tour their equipment, including ladder trucks and the fire safety trailer, designed to simulate a fire. The event’s mission was to emphasize the importance of fire prevention and safety, and to engage with an audience the fire department doesn’t often reach, Deputy Fire Chief Buddy Glover said.

“The majority of fires happen in the home, and we don’t often get a chance to see younger kids or the spouses who may be at home,” Glover said. “(Fire Fest) gives us another avenue and another opportunity to touch base with community members we don’t get to see face to face on a regular basis.”

In addition to emergency vehicle tours and meet and greets with the firefighters, the event offered games, face painting, free food and refreshments provided by the Fort Leonard Wood USO, and a performance by the 399th Army Band Rock Band, “The Roughriders.”

Seven-year-old Anthony Wall asked to go to the event because he loves fire trucks and said he was excited to meet firefighters.

Tresa Hester-Douglas, who accompanied Wall to the event, said Fire Fest provided more than just safety tips.

“(Fire Fest) brings families together,” Hester-Douglas said. “Having something easy, fun and free to do allows the Soldiers a chance to be with their family and see their children having fun.”

Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Curtis called the event a success.

“We would like to thank everyone who contributed to making Fire Fest a success,” Curtis said. “We hope everyone learned more about what we do and how important fire prevention is for everyone.”

For anyone who missed the event, Glover said community members are welcome to stop by any of the fire stations after 4:30 p.m. daily to meet the firefighters, ask questions or tour the facilities.

More photos from Fire Fest are available on the Fort Leonard Wood Flickr page.